This week, or actually last two days as I have barely been able to put it down, I have been reading a story by a girl who was raised by an ogress in a house that contained only six books, most of which were about God. The ogress believed that books led to temptation, to danger, to wickedness, to lands where wild things festered and fought.
She was right about where books lead, but wrong that this is to be avoided, that the doors must be shut and bolted. We should all visit these lands, from the safety of our bedrooms or sofas, we should test temptation in its glittering, wondrous clothes, we should risk danger, fight wickedness, like the heroines on the pages, with our own internal good.
As the girl in the book says, reading is where the wild things are. And it is a place to which I want to travel daily.
Oh, and in case you were wondering about the ogress, and whether she was slain, or vanished by magic: well, that only happens in fairytales, and this story, incredibly, was all true.
About Joanna Nadin
A former broadcast journalist and special adviser to the prime minister, since leaving politics I’ve written more than 80 books for children and adults, as well as speeches for politicians, and articles for newspapers and magazines like The Guardian, Red and The Amorist. I also lecture in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, and hold a doctorate in young adult literature.
I’m a winner of the Fantastic Book Award and the Surrey Book Award, and have been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Booktrust Best Book award and Queen of Teen among others, and twice nominated for the Carnegie Medal, for Everybody Hurts, and for Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated BBC TV series. I've also worked with Sir Chris Hoy on the Flying Fergus series and ghost-written Angry Birds under another name.
I like London, New York, Essex, tea, cake, Marmite, mint imperials, prom dresses, pubs, that bit in the West Wing where Donna tells Josh she wouldn’t stop for a red light if he was in an accident, junk shops, crisps, Cornwall, St Custard’s, Portuguese custard tarts, political geeks, pin-up swimsuits, the Regency, high heels, horses, old songs, my Grandma’s fur coat, vinyl, liner notes, the smell of old books, the feel of a velveteen monkey, Guinness, quiffs, putting my hand in a bin of chicken feed, the 1950s, burlesque, automata, fiddles, flaneuring, gigs in fields on warm summer nights, Bath, the bath.
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